Saying “No” In Recovery










It’s Ok to Say No

“No” is a complete sentence. With just two words and a period, or an exclamation mark, you have a simple assertion. What does such a small word mean? As an exclamation, “no” is “used to give a negative response”. “No” can also mean something is forbidding, rejected, and opposed. As addicts and alcoholics, no takes on a different meaning.

Addiction and alcoholism are addicted to more. In order to get more, the word “no” is not commonly used. Instead, there is a lot of “yes”. Addiction and alcoholism say yes to hurting ourselves, yes to hurting others, and yes to hurting the world around us. We say yes to dangerous situations, dangerous people, and dangerous places.

As addicts and alcoholics we say yes to what we should say no to and no to what we should say yes to. Among many other things in our lives, we get these two confused.

Making the decision to choose treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is saying one of the biggest “no” of your life. You’re not just saying no to picking up and using anymore, you’re saying no to everything that has to do with active addiction and alcoholism. Unfortunately, we live in a world where drinking is normalized, drug use is sensationalized, and temptations live on every corner.

The day we enter treatment is not the last day we are to see a drink and a drug. Inevitably we will encounter drugs and alcohol again. Greeted by our old friend who will so innocently ask us to come back, we will have to say No.

The Importance of Relapse Prevention Tools

Saying No to drugs and alcohol won’t be easy in the beginning. You’ll say it, and you’ll mean it, but you’ll still experience a lot of uncomfortable feelings in the process. Since the last time you were intoxicated from drinking and drug use is not very far away, you are likely to experience cravings. Triggered by the sight of substances and more importantly the anticipation of being able to get high off of substances, your brain will kickstart a craving pattern which will try to convince you it won’t hurt to use just one more time.

Despite your best efforts you’ll contemplate how valid that statement it- could I do it just this once? Does anyone have to know? This is where all of your relapse prevention tools will have to kick in. Say No. Walk away. Call a friend. Go to a meeting.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why you don’t drink, don’t do drugs, and don’t want to anymore. If you feel the need to disclose your sobriety, that is your choice to make. No is enough- it’s a complete sentence.


You can do this. Recovery is yours for the living. Lakehouse Recovery Center wants to help you create a life you have fun living, without drugs and alcohol. To learn more about our residential treatment programs, call  877.762.3707 today.


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